The idea for the Art and Mind Festivals originated in conversations between Garry Kennard and Rita Carter. The eventual events were directed by Garry Kennard in collaboration with Rita Carter and Annabel Huxley. Their remit was to explore what light the brain sciences could throw on contemporary culture and to present the results to the general public. They were not academic conferences. This allowed the festivals to mix lectures and discussions with live performances (both musical and theatrical) and exhibitions. They created a new kind of theatre that Garry Kennard called The Theatre of Discourse. They attracted distinguished artists and scientists with international reputations to come along to Winchester to take part in events which set a new benchmark in art/science explorations. You can explore the details of each event from this page.
Click on a title for more information
An overview of the arts – music, dance and visual art – and what the brains sciences can say about them. VS Ramachandran (pictured), Brian Eno, Antony Gormley, AS Byatt, Richard Gregory, Wayne McGregor and many more.
Laughing is one of the earliest of human responses to the world. Yet little is widely known about it, the neuroscience of humour, the origins of comedy or the cultural meaning of jokes. This event explored the nature of humour. Mervyn Stutter (pictured), Richard Wiseman, John Lloyd and others.
Religious experience is a uniquely powerful and universal human characteristic. What triggers the brain to produce it, how does it do it, and why? This festival explored religion from scientific perspective, and demonstrated how art can be used to bring about the transcendent state we identify as spirituality. Included A. C. Grayling, Paul Robertson, Sir John Tavener, Buddhist Monks from the Tashi Lhunpo Monasery and whirling dervishes – Nivahend.
Starting with the fundamental musical and linguistic structures of the brain this Festival explored the evolution of language into consciousness and the flowering of poetry and music in human cultures. Ruth Padel (pictured), Matthew Barley, Stephen Mithen, Ruth Valentine.
The revelatory relationship between architecture and the brain sciences leads us to explore in new ways our immediate surroundings and the spaces we build for ourselves to live, work and play in. John Allen of Biosphere II, Charles Jencks (pictured), Tom Stoppard’s ‘Arcadia’, Will Allsop.
Perhaps the two most mysterious aspects of human existence are our entry into life and our leaving of it. What is happening at these profound events? How do we come into conscious life? What happens at the moment of our demise? How has art approached these themes and what light can science throw upon them? Bruce Hood, Malcolm Creese, Rita Carter, Chris French, Chloe Sayer.
One of the simplest but most profound questions that we might ask of ourselves is ‘Who am I?’ Our sense of identity is of such importance that it would seem impossible to move around in the world without having a distinct sense of ‘self’. But does the ‘self’ exist – or is it an illusion? Rita Carter, Raymond Tallis, Paul Broks, Margaret Coldiron, Samay.
How and why do our brains create dreams? What is the relationship between the way we dream and the way we perceive the material world? This event examined a part of our lives which has fascinated and mesmerised us all since the dawn of consciousness. Jeff Warren, Rita Carter, John Smally, Mary Twyman and others. Included a major concert in Winchester Cathedral with the first UK performance of a new work by Sir John Tavener – ‘Towards Silence’.